PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — The Illinois Department of Public Health is using a new text program to alert people about their COVID-19 test results and follow up for contact tracing.

The text will direct the person to call (312) 777-1999 to get their results. Confirmed cases will be traced through the State Contact Tracing Surge Center.

It’s one of the multiple initiatives designed to help ease the burden on hospitals.

Starting Monday, the Peoria Civic Center will be open six days a week from 8 A.M. to 4 P.M. for drive-thru testing. Vaccines will also be available.

“The healthcare system is designed for patients to go to the most appropriate setting based on their needs,” said Monica Hendrickson, public health administrator at Peoria City/County Health Department.

Hendrickson said just 8.6% of ICU beds are available in the region. She said hospitals are flooded with “worried well” people seeking a test after being exposed.

“Allow the emergency rooms to focus on true medical emergencies and our urgent care facilities to address moderate health concerns…If you are a worried well, do not show up to our emergency rooms for a COVID test,” she said.

Hendrickson pleaded with people to get vaccinated or boosted, as most hospitalized COVID-19 patients are unvaccinated. The Peoria City/County Health Department is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the week, and no appointment is necessary.